The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the two jail terms imposed by the trial court and upheld by the Court of Appeals (CA) on a Davao City resident who was arrested for selling shabu to a police officer in a buy-bust operation in 2015.
After her arrest, confiscated from Noralyn Sariol Luma were 13 more plastic sachets containing 6.80 grams of shabu (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride), a dangerous drug.
The Davao City regional trial court (RTC) convicted Luma of violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 under Republic Act No. 9165.
On Oct. 30, 2019, the CA in Mindanao based in Cagayan de Oro City upheld the trial court’s decision. The case was elevated to the SC.
In a resolution made public last July 30, the SC dismissed Luma’s appeal as it affirmed the CA’s ruling that convicted her of violations of Sections 5 (sale) and 11 (possession) of Article II of RA 9165.
The SC said that both the RTC and the CA correctly ruled that “all the respective elements of the crimes are present in this case.”
It said “the prosecution clearly established that, during a legitimate buy-bust operation conducted by law enforcement operatives of the San Pedro Police Station in Davao City, accused-appellant (Luma) was caught in flagrante delicto selling a plastic sachet containing 0.1835 gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu, to the designated poseur-buyer, Police Officer (PO) 3 Gerry R. Tudlasan (PO3 Tudlasan).”
It also said that when Luma was “searched upon arrest, thirteen (13) more plastic sachets containing a total of 6.8096 grams of the same substance were recovered from her possession.”
At the same time, the SC said that “all the links of the chain of custody were likewise established, considering that: (a) PO3 Tudlasan had custody of the seized items from the moment of seizure, conducted the marking, inventory, and photography in the presence of accused-appellant herself, as well as the required witnesses, and finally, turned over the seized items to PO2 Perfecto Tuloy (PO2 Tuloy) at the police station for recording purposes.”
It said that “after recording, PO2 Tuloy gave the seized items back to PO3 Tudlasan, who then brought the same to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory, where they were received by PO2 Jeffrey Cabalon and then turned over to Police Senior Inspector April Dela Rosa Fabian (PSI Fabian), the expert forensic chemist.”
“After examination, PSI Fabian turned over the seized items to PO3 Bernadine Magallanes, the evidence custodian, who stored them until they were duly presented in court for identification,” it also said.
Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of law by the CA, the SC ruled:
“Accordingly, she (Luma) is sentenced to suffer the following penalties: (a) in Criminal Case No. 82,394-15, for the crime of lllegal Sale of Dangerous Drugs, the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine in the amount of PS00,000; and (b) in Criminal Case No. 82,395-15, for the crime of Illegal Possession of Dangerous Drugs, the penalty of imprisonment for a period of twenty (20) years and one (1) day to thirty (30) years, and a fine in the amount of P400,000. SO ORDERED.”